Northampton manager Chris Wilder felt his side got “too excited” as he blamed their 2-1 loss at Cambridge United on a lack of patience after they fell behind.
Goals from Harrison Dunk and Barry Corr put United in control and leading 2-0 shortly after half-time, but Marc Richards’ penalty on the hour-mark left the game in the balance.
However, the Cobblers were then guilty of over-committing men forward as they went in search for the equaliser, allowing Cambridge a string of chances on the counter-attack and but for Cobblers keeper Adam Smith, the final scoreline would have been more one-sided.
Smith was once again in fine form, making several excellent saves in the second half but it was all in vain with Cambridge holding out for all three points.
And speaking afterwards, Wilder was critical of his side’s attitude when they got back to 2-1, accusing them of abandoning their beliefs.
“We were running around like headless chickens,” he said afterwards.
“We can’t keep asking Adam to pull saves off. We weren’t under continuous pressure, it was just one ball down the side of us and Barry Corr is in the middle of the six yard box and we’re nowhere to be seen so that’s really disappointing.
“We then got ourselves back in the game but as I just said to the players - we got too excited.
“We still had half an hour to go after we scored, we were on top and we should have taken the game to them in a controlled manner but we didn’t and we started rushing our play.
“This is a big game against a team with good players that are expected to be right up there, and we have to be mentally controlled and composed but we all wanted to get that goal as quick as possible to get us back on level terms.
“If we had played in a little bit more controlled way, I’m sure we would have created chances instead of forcing the openings like we tried to.
“We have to believe in the way we play which is controlled football - we want to move the ball about and move teams about.
“If our movement’s good then we’ll get in at the top of the pitch but today we wanted to go for goal on every occasion instead of being patient.”
It’s been a taxing week off the pitch for Northampton and with more than 1,200 terrific travelling supporters at the Abbey Stadium, Wilder felt that may have played a part in his side’s over-eagerness.
“I’m disappointed not to reward the unbelievable travelling support with a positive result,” he said.
“Sometimes it is difficult when we’ve got over 1,000 supporters willing us on at every opportunity, but you can’t and you have to be patient and create openings.
“We’re not an overly physical side - we’ve got footballers in the team but in that period just after we scored, we didn’t move the ball about and play enough football.
“At times we had a lot of play and we looked a decent side.
“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb but when the penalty went in I really fancied us to go on and win it, but we have to stick to our beliefs and all of the players got over-excited and didn’t control the ball.
“If we had done that, and had Lawson not been such an idiot, I believe we’d have got an equaliser and gone on to win the game.”
Wilder had no complaints over Lawson D’Ath’s red card after the winger was dismissed for a reckless lunge on Dunkley late on.
“The sending off is really disappointing,” added the Cobblers boss.
“Lawson’s had a poor five minutes - he hit a bad back pass and then he’s had a pass that was intercepted and it’s a definite sending off - there’s no doubt about that.”